Sex Roles

, Volume 18, Issue 3–4, pp 159–168 | Cite as

Sex bias in visual images evoked by generics: A new zealand study

  • Elizabeth Wilson
  • Sik Hung Ng


Male biases are known to exist in the usage, evaluation, and interpretation of masculine generics. This study explored, by means of a tachistoscope, sex-specific biases in visual images evoked by masculine (“All men are created equal,” “At university a student can study whatever he wants”) and feminine (“The feminists protested outside the town hall,” “At university a student can study whatever she wants”) generics. Photographs of male and female faces were presented in a deliberately ambiguous (subthreshold) viewing field while maintaining the masculine or feminine generic sentence on constant view. It was predicted and found in a sample of 48 university students that if generics invoked sex-specific images, the images would affect the direction in which the viewer would resolve the ambiguous faces, resulting in more reported male faces in the masculine than in the feminine generic condition.


Social Psychology Generic Condition Visual Image Town Hall Generic Sentence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Wilson
    • 1
  • Sik Hung Ng
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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